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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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and sections of these insurgents to the number of from five to twenty men,
were garrisoned in private houses.
" The rising broke out in the same time all over Warsaw. An hour
beforehand;, groups of insurgents forced their way into private houses and
manned windows and skylights from which they were able to fire on army
and police patrols. From these houses^ which had long been selected for
this purpose, they provided fierce covering fire, sealing off their own districts
without the slightest consideration for the civilian population. They did
not even consider the lives of the sick^ of mothers or children . . . The more
important firing positions were manned by snipers; who were armed with
telescopic rifles. They were able to blockade the Warsaw garrison^ and to
surprise and disarm single sentries. Every large house was a fortress which
could only be got at with difficulty,"
On August 3, the Warsaw insurgents had every reason for optimism.,
and it was to be expected that in a short space of time the Germans would
be compelled to quit the capital. But the Russians suddenly stopped
their advance and a few days later were temporarily repulsed from Warsaw
and retired thirty miles.
When General Bor, the Commander of the Home Army, began the
rising on August ist, he had 50,000 soldiers gathered in the capitaló20,000
of them were armed,, and 30,000 were waiting for the weapons they hoped
to take from the Germans. At least 30 per cent, of the weapons arming
this force had been manufactured by the Underground., 30 per cent, had
come from British supplies, and another 30 per cent, was booty taken from
the Germans, while the remaining 10 per cent, consisted of arms which
had been hidden since 1939.
On August 4, as the stocks of ammunition neared exhaustion, the char-
acter of the battle began to change and the possibility of further attack on
the pajt of the Poles ceased to exist. The great city with its population
of over 1,300,000, erected hundreds of barricades and the fight was waged
from house to house, from street to street. Warsaw, subjected by the
Luftwaffe to an unceasing bombardment (German aircraft flew at roof-top
height), and battered by scores of heavy artillery and mortars (27 ins.
included), answered with the scanty weapons of its defenders. The
Germans, " using columns of civilians, women and children as screens
for their tanks," slowly began to gain the advantage.
From August 4, General Bor sent out appeals to the Allies icqiiesting
" categorically for immediate assistance in ammunition and anti-tank
weapons." On August 2, Churchill assured the House of Commons
that the " Russian armies (who) now stand before the gates of Warsaw,
bring the liberatior of Poland in their hands . . . (they) offer freedom,
sovereignty and independence to the Poles."
Was this Army in truth " bringing in their hands freedom, liberation
and independence to the Poles ? " It was a remarkable situation, the
Poles in Warsaw were fighting just before the eyes of this army and re-